Known for being the
winterless north, the Bay of Islands is known for the world famous
Hole in the Rock, big game fishing, diving, sailing to name a few of
the many attractions and activities that are available in the
Located 240 kms north of
Auckland, the Bay of Islands is an drowned valley system and a
natural harbour, containing 144 islands, of which the largest is Urupukapuka
and numerous peninsulas and inlets. The bay itself is an irregular
16 km-wide inlet in the north-eastern coast of the island.
As a natural harbour, it has several arms which extend into the land, notably Waikare Inlet in the south and Kerikeri and Te Puna (Mangonui) inlets in the
The Bay of Islands was first settled about 700 years ago, by Māori, who
settled throughout the bay and on several of its many islands to establish
various tribes such as the Ngāti Miru at Kerikeri.
Many of the Māori settlements later played important roles in the
development of New Zealand, such as Okiato (first European settlement), Waitangi (where the Treaty of Waitangi would later be signed) and Kerikeri, (which was an important departure point for inland Māori going to
sea and the site of the first permanent European mission station in the country).
The Bay of Islands was the first centre of early European settlement in New
Zealand, with Russell being the first capital city of New Zealand.
The bay has many interesting historic towns including Paihia, Russell,
Waitangi and Kerikeri. Russell, formerly known as Kororareka, was the first
permanent European settlement in New Zealand, and dates from the early 19th
Kerikeri, being the largest town in the area, contains many historic sites from the earliest European colonial
settlement in the country. These include the Mission House, also called Kemp
House, which is the oldest wooden structure still standing in New Zealand.
The Stone Store, a former storehouse, is the oldest stone building in New
Zealand, where construction begun on 19 April 1832.
The small town of Russell is located at the end of a short peninsula that
extends into the bay from the southeast.
The main tourist town is
Paihia, with other towns of
and Russell located close by.
There are various coach and bus operators providing regular daily services to the Bay
of Islands region from Auckland. Air New Zealand Link provides regular daily air
There are no passenger train or rail services to or from the Bay of Islands